Tom (Martin Scheen) is a specialist ophthalmologist who leads a comfortable life. He has his own private office, which is frequented by his regular clientele. In a well-organized, established lifestyle, golf with old friends and associates occupies an important place, but one sunny day, a regular game of golf will be abruptly interrupted by a phone call. He receives the shocking news that his son Daniel (Emilio Estevez) was killed on a pilgrimage to the Camino de Santiago – in Spain also known as the Way of St. James.
Painful knowledge opens an unhealed wound, reveals the devastating truth that he could not be on the same wavelength with his son. Emotionally shaken, Tom hurriedly decides to start from the comfortable path of life. He wants to end the journey he started instead of his son, and thus in some way pay his last respects to the born child, regardless of their unhappy past together. On the way of pilgrimage, Tom meets interesting people, where each of them has his own reasons why he dared to undertake such a daring endeavor.
An inspiring film story, charged with emotions, deals with topics related to the power of faith. As a complex whole, it deals with other serious topics. It touches on broken family ties, but also unexpected friendships. There is something that is taken for granted as a personal challenge. You know, when we try to get out of a situation (no matter how difficult, bad, gloomy, etc.) and try to overcome ourselves, and that is often the hardest time, because it requires exceptional inner strength or highly developed consciousness.
Emilio Estevez (son of the famous father Martin) is the complete author of a touching drama, and the book Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route, written by Jack Heath, served as a literary template for the film adaptation. The dynamic plot, with excellent shots of the picturesque landscapes of Spain and France, gives a special visual touch to the film. It is also worth mentioning the great musical arrangements, composed with measure and taste, just enough to complete the viewers’ complete picture of the film, which is full of emotions, sad anecdotes and memories. The screenwriting concept allows us to discover traces of light comedy in this drama, but also to enjoy an authentically revived adventure (photography justifies the purpose of the engagement and comes to full expression).
Excellent acting is undoubtedly a strong trick here. Martin Sheen, as the lead actor, is very convincing, authoritative, and the mimicry from his face clearly speaks of the bravura acting edition that the older gentleman afforded us, and all that leaves an impression and just makes us feel some empathy, to peek into the human soul. broken by personal tragedy. But also mentally strong and ready enough to continue despite everything that the past has taken away from him. Three supporting characters enrich this interesting work with their appearance. The reason for that lies in the fact that their characters are solidly portrayed, and unusual human destinies are carefully painted.
Deborah Kara Unger as Sarah, Yorick van Wageningen as Jost and James Nesbitt as Jack are equally convincing in the creation of their characters. Excellently set dialogues support this because they are sincere, spontaneous, somehow life-giving. The good spirit permeates the action throughout, from the beginning to the end of the pilgrimage.
The good thing, not by chance, is that they are all really from Canada, the Netherlands or Ireland, like the movie characters they interpret. This achieved absolute authenticity in the depiction of people from different parts of the world. Unpretentious directing manages to attract us by confronting their diversity in mentality, giving an overview of their characteristics, but also habits, in order to provide us with solid evidence at the end of the road, as a group of strangers discovers that they have something in common. The idea of multiculturalism thus gained full meaning and seemed quite justified.
Well-structured dramaturgy manages to convey a universal message, with the affirmation of increasingly widespread globalization, which can really bother someone because it sounds like a shabby political phrase.
When the line is drawn, I come to the conclusion that I was pleasantly surprised by everything that this film offered so generously. Undoubtedly, it has the potential to stir up emotions, to fill your soul with its warmth, and maybe even touch your heart. The warm recommendation is logical: watch the movie, it will surely make you think deeply and look for answers to some difficult questions.